History: Bob Sturgeon, an artist who spent 30 years in industrial engineering, made his first wooden fishing lure in 2012 when he lived in Nebraska. The roots of his business creating intricate wooden fishing lures date to when a friend left him a piece of wood to carve a bow. With some of the leftover wood, he whittled a fishing lure and later caught a 6-pound bass. What started as a whim turned into “a hobby that wants to be a business, and sometimes, it’s a business that wants to be a hobby.” Over the past 11 years, Sturgeon has carved thousands of fishing lures. He calls the lures “functional fishing art.” They can be used for fishing, but people typically purchase them as gifts. He has created lures for everything from groomsmen’s gifts to company parties.
Move to Indiana: Angry Sturgeon Lures has moved with Sturgeon from Nebraska to Missouri and then to near English in Crawford County, about two hours south of Indianapolis. He and his wife moved to his family’s farm last year, two years after his father’s death. Sturgeon inherited the land that has belonged to his family since 1820.
How they’re made: Sturgeon said many steps go into making a batch of lures. He first looks for interesting patterns and grain contrasts in wood. Sturgeon has made lures out of material as different as pallets, driftwood and exotic African wood. Any piece of wood that has a pattern that looks like it could translate well into a 3-inch fishing lure is one Sturgeon is willing to try. People can watch Sturgeon demonstrate the process of whittling a fishing lure on his YouTube and TikTok pages.
How to purchase: Sturgeon sells his lures through eBay, social media and at stores in English and in Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri. Prices range from $30 to $50 for a single lure. He also sells shirts and other merchandise on his website.
Where they’re made: Crawford County
—Compiled by Daniel Bradley